Last week, California Governor Gavin Newsom set a trend when he signed the Fair Pay to Play Act into law on LeBron James' hit show The Shop. The new law will take effect in 2023. The Fair Pay to Play Act will give college athletes in California the ability to profit from their name, image, and likeness (NIL). Specifically, college athletes will be allowed to garner endorsement deals and otherwise monetize their NIL without losing eligibility. The law also allows college athletes to sign with agents. The Fair Pay to Play Act is proving to be a trendsetter. Several states have announced plans to join the college athlete NIL movement.
Prior to the Fair Pay to Play Act being signed into law, a few other states had plans to introduce similar legislation to comp. Since the Fair Pay to Play Act became law states in almost every region of the country have announced plans to create similar legislation. The NCAA's threats to ban California colleges from post-season play has been no match for legislators who are determined to do what is right for college athletes. These legislators are determined to create a more equitable college athletics system.
Currently, college athletes propel a billion-dollar college sports industry and are limited to a cost-of-attendance scholarship for their efforts. Meanwhile, coaches' salaries continue to grow and the non-profit NCAA generates a billion-dollars per year. Several state and federal lawmakers are determined to give college athletes a bigger piece of the pie. Let's take a look at the states that have joined the college athlete NIL movement since the passage of the Fair Pay to Play Act.
States With Plans to Introduce College Athlete NIL Legislation
In the Midwest, Illinois and Minnesota state lawmakers have announced plans to introduce a college athlete NIL bills. Pennsylvania and Maryland are both considering introducing legislation similar to the Fair Pay to Play Act. Several lawmakers in Nevada have stated that they would consider introducing similar legislation. A lawmaker in Kentucky is reportedly drafting a bill addressing college athlete compensation. Perhaps the most notable state to join the college athlete NIL movement is the state of Florida.
Two Florida lawmakers have already filed bills. On October 4, Chip LaMarca filed HB 287. This bill seeks to allow college athletes to profit from their name, image, and likeness. If signed into law, it will become effective on July 1, 2020. Prior to HB 287, Florida representative Kionee McGhee filed HB 251. That bill is also set to become effective on July 1, 2020. HB 251seeks to allow college athletes to receive "specified compensation." The bill will also create a Florida College System Athlete Name, Image, and Likeness Task Force. With these two bills, Florida is bound to give college athletes the ability to profit from their NIL.
The College Athlete NIL Movement has a Potential Newcomer on the Federal Level
The current collegiate model is not only being challenged on the state level. The collegiate model is being challenged at the federal level as well. Earlier this year, U.S. Congressman Mark Walker introduced the Student-Athlete Equity Act. The NCAA is exempt from federal taxation as an organization that organizes amateur sports and national championships. The Student-Athlete Equity Act seeks to remove that exemption if the NCAA continues to enforce rules that prohibit college athletes from profiting from their NIL. In addition to this fight at the federal level, the NCAA is about to face another one.
A U.S. Congressman from Ohio is planning to introduce a federal bill similar to the Fair Pay to Play Act. Representative Anthony Gonzalez, a former Ohio State wide receiver, plans to introduce a federal bill that will allow college athletes to profit from their name, image, and likeness. Gonzalez would like to see NIL compensation become a reality before 2020. However, he may wait until the NCAA's NIL working group releases its' findings before introducing legislation.
Paying College Athletes has Bipartisan Support
As more state and federal lawmakers announce plans to introduce college athlete legislation, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the issue has bipartisan support. Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers have been vocal in support of the legislation. Perhaps this is because they all can see the blatant inequities in the current collegiate sports system. In a capitalist society, no one can reasonably support the notion that college athletes should be prohibited from profiting from their NIL. The bipartisan support will continue to grow. The NCAA will be forced to enact a meaningful change on the issue or sit back and watch lawmakers do it for them.